A Day in the Life
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The weeks are rolling by and our summer is nearly over. This week Livie came home from school each
day excited but tired. Autie waited
eagerly each day for her big sister and best friend to come play with her. Autie finally asked if she could start school
soon. Tom and I both want to send her to
preschool, but at the moment it’s not in our budget. We are working with her on the things she
needs to learn, but she misses having friends to play with. We are trying to figure this part out as we
speak. Autie’s personality is changing
so much right now. She is a crazy
kid. Last Sunday while I was at market
Daddy took the girls to Orshleans (our favorite store in the whole wide
world!!!!!!). The girls came home with
some new rain/work boots. Autie’s had
horses on them and she wears them EVERYWHERE we will allow her to wear them…
including the bathtub and bed. Livie
likes hers, but not with same intensity.
If you were to come visit our farm this weekend, you would see my girls in
their cutoff shorts, tank tops that do not match, a headband with a big bow
for a little style, and their boots. They
will be working a 'project" that will require at least three visits to daddy’s
junk pile and will have two chairs and a
small wrought iron patio table they have cabbaged onto on the stoop of our
front steps. I have finally found all of
the plant markers that disappeared this spring… they are tools, credit cards,
and othe essential items for their “project.”
If they happen to have a pair of their daddy’s gloves on … not to worry
they have switched “projets” and will be trying to catch our only remaining
kitten and he is WILD. The gloves are
for a little protection from the scratches.
The kitten is so WILD I think they actually need hazmat suits so the
entire body is protected. You may also
find them on their trampoline where they may be jumping, but they may also be
playing school with our red heeler Reba.
Reba is a very good student. My
girls are wild, crazy and scream with pure excitement whenever there is a
visitor!!!! If you are looking for
yellow green beans, Romano-style flat green beans or a good deal on canning
tomatoes you will find not only great produce but also quality entertainment
offered by my girls.
This week we made another delivery to Wilderness Lodge and while at our
market last week met an independent chef who does quite a bit of catering. I hope to be working on with him on an
up-coming event. We also have been very
busy selling apples, a last batch of sweet corn and lots of jalapeno
Next week we will rip out all but one row of tomatoes in the high tunnel so
we can begin planting pole beans, more zucchini, broccoli, three types of
cabbage and a whole LOT more!!!! In the
weeks to come we will have pumpkins, yellow moon & star watermelons, patty
pan squash, spinach, salad greens, more cherry tomatoes, broccoli, and a huge
assortment of fall greens, cabbages, beets.
Summer may be coming to an end, but in many ways the garden is just getting
primed for the second half of the growing season. We are also making some changes for next
year. This fall we are adding a bed of
fennel and we are re-sowing our beds of parsley and cilantro. I am also looking for a good place to add a
bed of fern dill and a bed of sage. We
are making some big changes for next year.
Just you wait and see!!!!
Tomorrow, you need to stop by. We
will have a huge supply of yellow green beans, a few Romano-style beans,
edamame soybeans, summer apples, Jonathon apples, a few pears, patty pan
squash, butternut squash, some gorgeous red slicing tomatoes, a few cucumbers,
eggplant, peppers, and okra. We will
also have beet greens, collard greens and baby Swiss chard. We will be at the Old Cheney Road Farmers
Market in Lincoln, NE from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The produce will be very fresh, the
conversation friendly, and my thankfulness overflowing!
My thoughts of gratitude for the week is focused on the gift of a happy marriage. This summer has been rough for most of
us. The lack of rain and intense heat is
wearing on everyone. It is summers like
these that bring out the worst in everyone and I have not been at my
best. My hubby faces it all with an easy smile, a reassuring “I love you,”
and a drive to keep going in the hopes of a better day. There are a LOT of single women in my county
most of whom never gave my husband a second look and yet wonder why they are
still single. To them I smile and say
THANK YOU. Depending on the weather, Tom
hopes to start fall harvest this next week as well. Fall harvest has a tendency to drag on a bit
but due to the drought this year will be fairly short, but lacking the light-hearted banter that tends to come with it. This year is a hard one and harvest will not
end on a positive note. I hope Tom will
lean on me the way I have leaned on him all summer. Hopefully my reassuring “I love you and gentle
kiss will encourage a smile that I know he will struggle to find. This is farming and years like these are to
be expected, but expecting them and living them are two different
This next week is also a BIG week for us in other ways. I cannot go into details, but to say the
least it has the potential to be life-changing for my family... in a good way. If you are a person of faith, please pray that
the changes offered are real, and will bring my family the type of blessing we
are able to pay forward 10 times over.
Have a fresh and fabulous holiday weekend and I ave hhhhhhhhhhhhhope to see you in the morning!!!!
Posted by Twilya
@ 02:33 PM CDT
It has been a very busy week and as I prepare for tomorrow
at the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in Lincoln,
Nebraska to say I am a motivated seller is an understatement. The colors and textures are changing a little
this week. I have A LOT of tomatoes and cucumbers.
New offerings will include two
items I am especially proud of: The
first is my edamame soy beans and the second is my little finger eggplant… I have had a few each week but this week I am
finally starting to get some volume. I will also have 1 honey dew melon and sadly I
think it will be the only one I have this season. I will also have an entire rainbow
of tomatoes. You really owe it to
yourself to try our Great White Beefsteak or maybe a Nebraska Wedding Tomato. There
is also my Black Krim, my orange Moon Glow, and my pink Raspberry Lyeanna and
a few Japanese Black Trieffle. The
cherry tomatoes are still going strong, but I see the end of the road ahead… at
the most I will have three more weeks.
Other items will include large and small black beauty eggplant, green
bell peppers, dulche peppers, jalapeno peppers, chili peppers, okra, Tabouli kits,
mint, parsley, sweet corn and a few cantaloupes. I will also have red and yellow onions and I
am down to about 10 pounds of potatoes.
I almost forgot the cucumbers, and a few assorted summer squash and eggs. I had
someone stop by last Sunday looking for cucumbers to pickle. If you are still looking, please visit me
I am trying something new this
week. I will bring with me a recipe card
for a one-skillet dish my family enjoys that goes from fresh to Yum in about 30
minutes. It is called Cowboy Stir-fry. It is one that is great as a vegetarian
dish. It also jumps to life with about
any meat option. It will feature many of
the items I will have for sale. If I
have time I will put together a second dish we like a lot that has more of an
Italian flair. I have lots of 30 minute
meal options so when you visit me me ask and I will offer how this busy mom finds time to cook fresh and please the hungry natives at my house!
The water ban was put into effect
and since God has given us 4 inches of rain.
If you ever wonder who you should put your faith in … government or God…
I have unmistakable evidence to support the later. We are a long way from the drought being over
but we will take what has been given and say THANK YOU.
I still have some big decisions
to make regarding my fall and winter gardens and we are also setting up our
game plan for 2013. We need to make some
big changes for next yearand we hope we will learn what you would like to have
available. In order for my business to ever get to a point that it provides
income for my family it has to have MORE customers so we are pretty
willing to consider your needs as we make our decisions.
have some huge news...
The week of August 14, my produce will be featured on the menu of one of
the most upscale restaurants in all of Lincoln.
I will share more about this in the near future. The Lincoln Journal Star has also talked
about my produce in one of their feature stories covering the Lincoln farmers
markets. Both have made that decision based
upon my quality, my selection and my price… despite what has been an extremely
difficult growing year. The North
Central Kansas Regional Planning Commission featured me in their newsletter
this summer and I have heard from several of my customers that I provided them
with their BEST tomato plants AND that I sell the BEST tomatoes at OCFM. I have
had visitors to my farm from Salina, Colby and Missouri because they have been
told I am a MUST visit farm. I am
thrilled, honored, PROUD, and GREATEFUL but in order for my business to survive
I need YOU!
Livie is now riding her bike
without training wheels. She actually
removed them herself. My Autie has decided
she wants to learn how to tie her shoes.
She is not yet 4, but she does not want to be outdone by her
sister. We also spent the week getting
Livie’s immunization records up to date for kindergarten and getting some of the necessary doctor visits out of the way.
Next week we have a few fun days
planned. We have back to school shopping
and a trip to the Lincoln Zoo and the Lincoln Children’s Museum scheduled. Because we are making the back to school
scramble we WILL NOT DELIVER THIS week and the following week Livie starts
Kindergarten. I have decided that week will
be devoted to my girls and getting our house ready for back to school. We will be available for on-farm sales by
appointment. You will also find us
covering our Sunday market at Old Cheney.
I hope everyone can understand the
Mom in me needs to invest in my girls as this summer draws to a close.
My thoughts of gratitude for the
week are focused on the sweet rain and the cooler temperatures. We will be headed to church in a few hours
and I will generously offer my prayers of gratitude. I am grateful for my farmer hubby who to date
is my best handy man, and best customer.
I am also grateful for my two giggly girls who stole what few strawberries
I had to pick and put them in their PLAY refrigerator. I am also grateful that I was able to find
the amusement offered by the discovery of the mess created. Finally I am grateful for my loyal customers
who visit or order from me each week. I
have two gentlemen whose tomatoes will be waiting for them tomorrow morning because
I know they will be there first thing! GRATITUDE. J
Posted by Twilya
@ 03:18 PM CDT
This past week was a rough one for L’Ecuyer Gardens. On Thursday we received notification we are
to no longer use rural water to water our garden. This request is a result of the current drought
conditions. We do have a private well,
but it will not meet our current needs and so some things will be touch and
go. Saturday night we did receive a
surprise rain which was WONDERFUL, but at this point 1 inch will not change
much. I am tired and worried.
I have lots of tomatoes and cantaloupe, zucchini and yellow
squash. I also have some beautiful
leeks. We have LOTS of canning tomatoes
and we have now opened what is left of our sweet corn up for u-pick. It you want to save big, jump in!!!! while you are here, pick up some canning
tomatoes, cucumbers and whatever else you cannot resist.
I am also busy trying to make plans for our fall
garden. I am concerned about the water
issue so I am trying to think through my options before I make decisions, but
the time is upon us. I am also trying to
make plans for next summer. For my loyal
customer chance, s this is the time to offer you thoughts on what you want to
have available. I will start buying my
seeds in November and so let me know. MY
garden is your garden! It is my hope you
will be able to find everything you need.
Despite the heat in the near future I will have Brussels
sprouts and possibly some green beans and cabbage.
Tomorrow will be dedicated to dehydrating corn and freezing
peppers and some other canning.
For now we still have great selection. If you are looking for canning tomatoes, let
me know!!!! I have a lot of tomatoes at
the moment. The online store is now
open. Please go to: http://lecuyergardens.locallygrown.net/weblog
and view our availability and make your selections by 5:00 p.m. Wednesday. Give us
a chance. Our selection is good, our
quality is very high and our prices are reasonable.
Posted by Twilya
@ 07:32 AM CDT
I spent most of the day in the Masonic Temple Parking Lot in
Marysville, KS and it was an okay day despite the heat. Tom and the girls surprised me with a visit
and yes I had both girls out waiving to cars for a short period of time. Again I am running low on quarters, but that
is a good problem to have.
This week has had many great moments. My nephew Lane came to visit for a few
days. He will be a senior in high school
this year and he is becoming a fine young man.
He was an awesome kid and I loved watching him play with my girls. He has been gone for a day and a half and my
girls REALLY MISS him. I do too. My
brother’s kids are pretty awesome too and would love it if they could come
visit for a few days too!!!!! I LOVE AND
MISS YOU GUYS ALL THE TIME.
I also learned I have a fan. Tish introduced herself as someone who has
been following me this season and today we met.
I never thought of my blog as something interesting enough to be worth
following. I only hope she enjoys the cantaloupe. I am flattered.
I still have several very nice cantaloupe ready to sell and
there will be many more by the weekend.
I am also running long on cucumbers, squash and canning tomatoes. My slicing tomatoes looked really good today. The heat has been rough on everything so I am
grateful to be able to still offer some nice big juicy slicing tomatoes. My sweet corn is dwindling and the preorders
I have in place may very well end my season.
We do have one batch that was planted quite a bit later, but we need the
heat to ease up for it to have a chance.
For Thursday, along with the cantaloupe, I will also have
yellow slicing tomatoes and several really nice beefsteak, eggplant, okra and
lots and lots of peppers. If you are
looking for something truly wonderful, you need to ask me about my strawberry
crabapples. They are golden with a
slight blush. Unlike most crabapples,
these are tart but sweet apples are wonderful fresh. They would make an outstanding cobbler or pie
and just the thought of it sounds so good I may make one for Tom and the girls
this weekend. My peaches are starting to
ripen and so I should have some with me at Old Cheney this weekend. Before too much longer I will have Colorado
peaches and apples.
Don’t tell Livie and Autie but my friend Sandy from Filley,
NE is making them princess costumes.
They will serve as the first installment to their dress up box and this
year’s Halloween costumes. Livie has
never been able to wear the princess dress in the toy isle…they are just too
small. This dress will be made to fit
her. She loves to dress up and I hope
this will be an extra special surprise for her.
I am now in search of long satin gloves, crowns and princess
slippers. I am also in search of a trunk
to warehouse everything. Livie’s will be
pink and purple and will look a lot like Cinderella. Autie’s is yellow and orange and will look a
lot like Bell’s. Sandi is also working
on a custom handbag for me. I have
enjoyed the first bag so much that as I move into fall I want another. She is working on a design that will also
double as computer case for a laptop or tablet.
When finished I will have a one-of-a-kind bag that will be made to meet
my specific needs. In the end it will
likely not cost much more than a better case from Staples. The difference is that mine will make its
own unique statement and will be mistakenly MINE.
The weather remains difficult for us all and your prayers
for rain are needed more than ever. In
addition to a prayer for rain, I also ask you petition for cooler
temperatures. We all need it. As a farmer the weather is your friend and it
is also your enemy, but there are an awful lot of people who are severely
impacted by our current weather patterns.
The store is open until 5:00 p.m. tomorrow. To order, please go to http://lecuyergardens.locallygrown.net/weblog
and make your selections. I hope you will
give me a try. The quality is very
high. The prices a reasonable and it
will be delivered right to your door for you to enjoy.
My thoughts of gratitude today are focused on people who find something worth following in the ramblings of a Kansas produce
farmer. Thank you Tish!!!!! Have a fresh and fabulous rest of the
week. ave Ha
Posted by Twilya
@ 08:55 PM CDT
Posted by Twilya
@ 10:37 AM CDT
We ENJOYED our first beefsteak tomato of the season. It was big enough one tomato was all we
needed. It was good, full of flavor and
just the right amount of acidity. I have
several more that are available now and several more that will be ready by the
weekend. If you are one who has lost a
little faith in the flavor of tomatoes – this one will give you hope.
Also available this week … the sweetest snap peas I think I
have ever eaten and I have A LOT of them.
If you have not had a chance to make creamed peas and potatoes, I have
everything you need. My green beans are
also starting to kick in and the beans are tender, stingless and full of flavor. Of course the zucchini and yellow squash are
coming on in full force and my cucumbers while only starting are off to a
prolific start. I have a few heads of
cabbage and am patiently waiting for the next round. This week I have touchstone gold beets and
they are beautiful. I love the
touchstone because they are so sweet and yet don’t taste like dirt. I have a few red baby beets and am hoping to
roast some one night this week. By the weekend I will have the first of the
sweet corn and the peppers are starting to go to town. There are
more things on their way so the colors, flavors and textures will continue to
change. The produce has kicked in. You could shop me for a new and very
different flavor for every night this week.
This is my favorite time of the year, when there are so many tasty
options that making a decision can prove impossible. We work so hard for this brief moment when
the garden becomes our grocery store and we would just love it, if our garden
could become yours. I also have canning
tomatoes available. If you want these,
please call me directly. They will not
be listed in our online store.
There is still time to reserve your order for Thursday
delivery. The store will close tomorrow
at 5:00 p.m. Simply go to http://lecuyergardens.locallygrown.net/
and select your favorites. The online
store is easy to use and helps both of us keep track of availability. I hope you will give us a try.
Autie had her last blast ball game of the season Sunday and
Livie has practice tomorrow and her last regular game Friday. We are hoping Grandma Carol will be able to
come watch it. This week has been a busy
one with the second week of swim lessons and a feeble attempt to get caught up
Yesterday we had some visitors from Salina stop by to tour
the farm and my girls loved it. While I
visited with the adults, the girls gave their son the full tour which included
baby kitties, snake skins and a little hide-n-seek. We love on farm visitors and from now until
the end of the season we are opening our doors by appointment on Mondays and
Tuesday for those who want to save some money.
Farm market leftovers from Sunday will be half price to ALL on-farm
visitors. The produce is just as good as
it was the day before, but we need to make room for the bounty for the week
ahead. We are adult and kid friendly
and so make it a family outing. We
promise are more than a little weedy, but the produce is fresh and
fabulous. The view is breathtaking and
we offer you a chance to enjoy a little simplicity in the midst of a hectic
world. That is what our farm is for us
anyway… a small oasis from the world’s insanity.
morning I am going to go out to see what wild fruit is still available and I
will spend part of the day picking peas and green beans for my Thursday
Posted by Twilya
@ 08:26 PM CDT
Today is Wednesday and I will be headed to Manhattan to
deliver to my drop customers, including People’s Grocery. I will also hang around at Peoples for the
farmers market from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
With me I will have an abundance of summer squash, zucchini, cucumbers, broccoli,
potatoes, peas, pole beans, kale, and collard greens and then there are my
berries… some sour cherries, choke cherries, gooseberries, wild raspberries,
regular and wild black berries and mulberries.
I may have forgotten to mention the tomatoes. I will have some nice salad tomatoes, orange
parchute and I hope to have one full basket of red cherries. The cherry tomatoes are on their way. Next week I should have the first of my European Snowberry tomatoes and you have no idea how good a tomato can be until you try one.
If there is something on this list that sounds really yummy
reserving yours is now very easy to do.
You can go to http://lecuyergardens.locallygrown.net/
and place your order. Orders are filled
in the order they are received. My new
online ordering system will help you and me keep up on availability. In time I will be able to accept debit and
credit cards and will always willingly collect at the time of delivery. It is a really easy system to use, so go ahead give it
Tuesday was spent picking berries and I found another new
road. It is a pretty good road and most
things are fairly easy to get to. There
are a lot of raspberries and blackberries. The girls and I headed out
again Tuesday evening and yes we returned to the sand road. The girls love that road and tonight busied
themselves my making Big Foot tracks in the sand. It was a little windy and so everything rustled
and while we enjoyed our visit we were all ready to leave. We were all feeling a little vulnerable.
Tom now expects to be finished with wheat harvest today. This is a very crazy week and between markets
and t-ball games Father’s Day is more than full. The girls and I need to find an opportunity
to celebrate before then. Tom is an awesome daddy and that is something worth
My thoughts of gratitude focus on the thankfulness
for the road less taken. Had I not been
willing to go down an entirely new road, I never would have met Tom, or would
have had my girls. The woman I was 10 years ago and the woman I
am today look similar but I no longer see her in me. Then I rarely wore jeans or any type of
denim, today I rarely wear anything else.
My nails used to be perfect and they are always a wreck anymore. Then you saw a big smile hiding an incredibly
lonely and lost person. The loneliness
has been filled with Tom and the girls and a business that gives me an
opportunity to meet so many new people each week. The road has been bumpy and at times very
difficult, but in the end it was the road worth taking and what a difference it
has made. Gratitude!
Posted by Twilya
@ 12:26 AM CDT
Sunday morning Autie woke up at 2:30 a.m. (as I was hoping
to finally go to bed) with a fever and throwing up. With Tom in the midst of wheat harvest I was
unable to make it to the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market in Lincoln, NE. Normally Tom would have the girls spend the
day with him in the combine and playing in the fields, but that was not going to work for Autie. I hate missing my markets, but Autie needed
me. She barely ate anything until 4:00
a.m. this morning when she woke up demanding breakfast. L
So you can imagine I have not had very much sleep the past two days. On the plus side, for those who live nearby,
I have a lot of produce available on farm at really good prices, so stop by.
Autie is feeling better, but her germs were passed to
me. I can only hope to rebound as
quickly as she did. Despite feeling under the weather I did manage to get a few
things done today.
I cleaned up some of my seed trays and added the dead plant
material to my current compost pile. The
pile is really growing which is good. We are learning as we go about
compost, but are finding the effort to be worthwhile. We are fairly remote and buying compost is expensive,
especially when you factor in transportation.
When you really think about it, there is no need for us to go off
farm. We just need to learn what we need
to know. Who knows in time we may get to
the point we have compost for sale.
Building up organic matter is important for produce farms... especially if you are trying to use organic growing practices. Organic matter provides nutrients; helps
retain moisture within the soil, and can also help minimize weeding.
I checked on my tomatoes and my Orange Parchute and red fig
tomatoes are starting to ripen like crazy.
That is GREAT news. Usually once
cherry tomatoes start they fruit like gang busters. I also expect to have a few red beefsteaks by
the weekend. I see some others that are
also starting to ripen as well. Bring
them on. I also checked on some other things
and my green beans have flowers and tiny bean pods on and I will have
beans within the next week to 10 days.
The zucchini, yellow squash and cucumbers have also kicked into
gear. The sweet corn is tasseling and now
it is just a matter of time. My chili
peppers and bell peppers are still growing and I hope to have some by the
weekend. It may or may not happen.
I also finished my online store and made my updates for the
first part of the week. Now you can go to http://lecuyergardens.locallygrown.net/
and place your order. This will make it
a lot easier to keep up on availability and help my customers track what they
have spent. In time I will have the
ability to accept debit and credit cards and will always willingly collect at
the time of delivery. My online store
will work for my mid-week deliveries and for my farm market customers. A few customers have already placed their
weekly order and there is still time for both my Wednesday and Thursday
deliveries. Some items ship very well
and now my attention is focusing on how that could work for those who live
outside the area.
Tonight the girls had a slumber party with their Grandma
Betty and I am working on paper work and laundry. I also need to clean my
kitchen. I made a batch of tabouli using
our hard red winter wheat and yum!
Bulgur wheat is good, but our wheat adds a nutty flavor and since it is
our wheat I am a little biased. I need
to check the rules to see if this is something I am able to bring already
prepared. It is good and on a hot day
fills you up without the heavy feeling.
The flavor improves the longer it sets in the fridge. If you make a batch and are not totally impressed you may be astounded to learn what the tiniest amount of salt can do to balance the flavors. It does not need very much. I future batches I will add the salt to the water as I cook the wheat berries.
In the morning I hope to feel well enough to go pick wild
raspberries, mulberries and gooseberries.
I also need to plant a few more things.
I hope plant the first of my fall squash this week. Livie has t-ball s Wednesday and Friday and Grandma
Carol is planning to come out here to see her game Friday night. We hope to be able to take her out for
supper afterwards. She is driving more
than two hours just to see a t-ball game!!!!
My girls will be thrilled.
Tom expects to be finished with wheat harvest by Thursday and
I can tell he is ready. Normally wheat
harvest is followed by a frenzied period where he plants either soybeans or
milo in the wheat fields. We have fields
we planted a few weeks ago when we were expecting rain that has not come up. We
have not received the rain needed. If it
is not going to rain there really is no point.
This is all part of farming, but… we need it to rain.
My thoughts of gratitude focus on finding a few
ways to work smarter and not harder. I
am hopeful the online store will make ordering easier for you. I also hope it will make it easier to keep
track of each individual order. Technology can be frustrating but it is a good
Posted by Twilya
@ 09:10 PM CDT
I am frustrated this afternoon. I have found a handy and inexpensive way to
create an online ordering system and the system does not like my name. I understand, but it is still my name. I have sent my questions and or comments and
I am waiting. Frustrated! Technology is a blessing and at the moment I
want to throw my computer out the window.
There are more ways than ever to communicate to people and I am trying
to use all of them and I cannot afford a smart phone which have been told will simplify
my life. I was told that about email
too. Frustrated. J
Yesterday was a BIG day and today I am tired. It started with my market at the Old Cheney
Road Farmers Market in Lincoln, NE and my tobouli kits were popular. I sold out and I even sold extra parsley and mint
which are typically not easy to sell. I
came very close to selling out of everything which is a good feeling. Now I just need to bring more.
My friend Sandi from Filley, NE. I asked Sandi to design and make a pick apron
for me. She delivered it to the market
on Sunday and it is so cool. It has a
set of three pockets that will allow for large picks and prevent crushing. It also has a wide and padded neck. I am still fighting my cameras and will post
pictures soon, but to my fellow growers who want something that will simply the
harvest you will be more than interested.
She also designs purses and is a true whiz at the sewing machine. She is now offering sewing classes too!
Tom and his brother Joe have been attempting to cut wheat…a
little each day but my blackberries simply insist it is not time. I have one berry starting to slightly turn purple. My prediction is they will be able to begin
cutting Thursday and I will likely begin picking berries the same day. Tom is amused by my predictions but not
convinced. That’s okay. I will remind him of my prediction on
Autie had her second blast ball game and she was a little
timid and unsure of herself this time.
Usually her big sister is right there bossing her around and she is figuring
things out on her own. She is doing just
fine. Livie had a makeup game and we did
not skip around the base line last night, but we casually jogged. I think some things were said by her team
mates because as she fell asleep last night she said she was sorry and would
run faster next time. My heart hurt a
little for her. I know being the big
sister hard. You have to figure out
everything yourself. Livie is like me in
that she has to mess it up before she figures things out. I need to remember how hard that was for me at
times. I will say she has an awesome
swing and she knows how to keep the shortstop VERY busy. That
ball is fast and JUST barely inside the line.
She is doing just fine.
Today I watered everything and began planting a new round of
onion sets. I have sold a lot of onions
and would have sold a lot more at this point if more were in the ground. I also need to find time to get some basil
plants in the ground.
The tomatoes are still taking their time, but I am now
picking my new red fig which is a cherry-sized heirloom that resembles to yellow
pear. I also see some chocolate cherry cherries
starting to blush a little. My Italian
tree tomatoes are starting to ripen too and those are looking like nice
tomatoes. They are bigger than my Stupica
tomatoes but still not huge. I
personally think smaller tomatoes have more flavor. I also see my beefsteak tomatoes are getting
close to size and will soon start to blush.
I have gobs of yellow beefsteak, but no signs of ripening so whenever
they hit I will have A LOT. My white,
orange, pink and black tomatoes will take a little longer, but will be for sale
before you know it. I also notice my chili peppers are starting to
fruit and with a little luck will be ready for Father’s Day weekend. YEAH!!!!
I will have bell peppers soon after that. My colored bells, and other peppers will take
a little longer.
If I do not have squash and cucumbers for sale by Wednesday
I will definitely have some for sale next Sunday and I am ready. The green beans are about to flower and my
leeks are huge.
Tonight I will plant a few more strawberry plants for fall
fruit and some more leeks, and the last of the eggplant for the season. I have a short row that at this point is
empty and I am looking for some fun new things to try. I am still looking.
Wheat harvest is all but here so I plan to cut a few bundles
of wheat in its stalks to sell as dried flowers for my markets this week. I love wheat.
It is so pretty when it is green but as it ripens it is breathtaking. The colors range from like gold/ almost white
to dark bronze. I fell in love with Tom and
the life he offered me as a farm wife during wheat harvest. Nearly nine years later I still love wheat
harvest… and Tom. We have brothers,
cousins, friends, sometimes strangers… they all want to pitch in. Some take vacation time to come work for
free. We are talking some seriously long hours. There is something truly romantic about this
time of the year. I think it is partly the beauty but also the camaraderie. The banter and yes sometimes the episodes of
Tom and Joe rolling around in the parking lot biting each other’s ear because
neither has slept much in days and are a little crabby. I am not making any of that up. At 42 and 45 they still fight like kid
brothers. Anybody who has ever worked closely
with family instinctively understands how animated these fights can be. They also understand there is only one
rule. Be mad if you like but get over it
because you will sit across from that ugly mug at the next family gathering.
In the morning I will pick peas and mulberries and the girls
and I will likely pick more mulberries tomorrow night. I have several large orders to fill for the
week and it takes A LOT of mulberries to get anywhere. Mulberries remain a very popular item.
My words of gratitude focus on the importance of
family. My brother in law is a maddening
person to be around, but he has also pulled me out of a ditch, repaired
multiple flat tires and is good with my girls …so maybe he is not so bad. I am also grateful for patient customers who
are also waiting for the tomato bumper crop.v
Posted by Twilya
@ 04:45 PM CDT
This post is a little long, but it has beena good week. [Read More
Posted by Twilya
@ 01:31 PM CDT
So this week I have busied myself picking mulberries, picking
peas, and enjoying Olivia’s first t-ball game.
With the exception of t-ball, there is a fair amount
of time to think. When my hands are
busy, but my mind free to wonder… all sorts of things are possible. The thoughts are random and usually grand. In those moments I see a crystal clear path
for my business’ success. It is not until I am trying to clean my
mulberry-stained hands that reality kicks in.
I keep dreaming though because one of these times I can’t help but think
it will all come together.
As much as my business is struggling at the moment it is
better than where I was one year ago.
One year ago I was employed full time in a job I knew was coming to an
end, trying to grow my business in the hopes of a soft landing…and fighting
everyone connected to both. I spent so
much energy in the name of helping others… even as it was hurting me and my
family and my business…only to have those I was helping betray me. It left me angry and resentful, distrusting,
and emotionally exhausted. I am unafraid to say it…. seriously depressed. I am still working on the forgiveness I need
to extend others and the only way I will ever get there is on my knees. For those of who are of faith, I could
seriously use your prayers to help me find my forgiving heart. The outcome of everything, I now work for L’Ecuyer
Gardens/ Farms. The clarity is
amazing. The dreams are big. The need is huge… given that, how can this possibly
My garden is in a lull and all I can do is wait for things
to begin to ripen. As I wait… I worry. It has not rained in quite some time and the
hot dry wind we have experienced also has my husband worried. His crops are not like mine, they cannot be
easily watered. Young plants emerging from
the ground fail to flourish in the face of these strong, hot dry winds. There is not much he can do. Even with my crops, it has been too windy to
effectively water and that is a problem.
All of the tender, young plants I planted last week are struggling. We have had chances of rain for several
nights and the rains keep skirting up around us.
For many, I know the weather is of little
interest, but to a farmer it is both your best friend and your enemy. We have not had anything that resembles
normal weather this calendar year and it makes it hard to know what to do. This is clearly one of those give it God and
move on scenarios. My Autie has prayed
for rain so sweetly the past few nights.
As she put it…”God we need some rain.
It did not rain today, and it did not rain yesterday or on the third
day. We need some rain. Can you send us some?” My prayer is a little different…”Lord please
hear my Autie’s prayer.”
I have picked a bunch of mulberries this week and my girls
and I will be back at it tomorrow. My
hands are stained and so is at least one shirt.
You should never pick mulberries wearing white. J I knew better so I can’t
complain. Believe it or not my mulberries
are a top seller and I know some of you are mystified by that statement. I think it is a simple pleasure. Many of us fondly remember the childhood mulberry
tree that was nearby. We were not to go
there… but we did every chance we got. The
mulberries remind my customers of a time when sneaking mulberries was fun and
buying my baskets provides my customers with the simple pleasures of a fond memory and
a sweet treat that is actually good for you. I am indulged with a few
dollars of income and time as a pick to try and figure out how to create a business
that will be a blessing to my family.
Today I have several deliveries and I am trying to decide if
an email newsletter would be good for my business. My ability to grow my business depends on more weekly
deliveries. As the farmer, marketer and
delivery person my time is so seriously divided that I need to find ways to
work smarter and not harder. I am
interested in your thoughts as to how to make my business easier to connect
Part of making this work is making it work for everyone in
my house and things like t-ball are as important as anything. I think that is the constant guilt of all
mothers. We need/want to work, but we
need/want to be there for the important things…like watching my Livie draw
figure eights in the dirt at the catchers’ mound last night. She said she feels mean tagging the
other girls as they come home. That’s my
Livie…a heart of pure gold.
I am sharing my worries with you because many of us are
facing similar stresses. Many of us are
trying to figure things out as we try to re-find our prosperity. Personally, I think our path back to
prosperity is for more of us to get back to what really matters. We need to simplify our lives and take
pleasure in simple things...Neighbors who
pop in unannounced ... sneaking a fresh picked strawberry from the garden ... or
concentrating our energy on how to make ourselves more of a blessing to those
who are in our lives. We are ALL going
to have to dig deep and blaze new trails, but we can get there. So I have to ask… in what way can I be a
blessing to you?
Posted by Twilya
@ 09:09 AM CDT
So my Livie lost her tooth and now we must all wait to see
if the Toothy Fairy lives up to her promise.
Tomorrow she goes for kindergarten round-up. It does not seem possible that my baby will
start school this fall. Her birthday is
just eight short days past the start deadline and last year I was so convinced
she should GO NOW. Now that the time is
drawing close, I just want more time. Autie
is looking forward to having Grandma all to herself in the morning. Next year Autie will be in preschool without herself. It will be interesting to see how much they miss each other.
Today was a pretty good day at the market, but I sure would
love for the produce to kick in! So far
it is limping along, but it is on its way.
I had a friend of mine stop by for a visit and it was a very nice
surprise. She showed me her newest
creation. It was a handbag she had made
and it was cool. You should have seen
the pockets!!!! Sandi Johnson in
Beatrice will soon offer sewing classes and it is time Tom and I dust off the sewing
machine we bought when first married and actually learn how to use it. If you are interested in learning more about
her classes, let me know and I will give you her contact information. I always admire someone who can turn unemployment
into a new business venture!!! Go Sandi!
Tonight we are having and odd dinner perhaps, but YUMO. Some of our farm market left-overs will be
featured… leeks and yellow snow peas with sweet potato fries and alligator. No the gator was not local and it is a very long
story, but YUMO! We will also enjoy tomatoes numbered two and three! I am very close to having tomatoes for
Tomorrow I will finally get the artichokes in the ground
along with starting about a dozen different summer squash, tomatillos, red okra
plants and etc. Tom spent the day staking my
tomatoes and at some point, we will have vines app 10 feet in the air. It will be a sight to be seen for sure.
I am also going to work on my new compost pile. Have I mentioned that at L’Ecuyer Gardens we
make our own compost? We are working
hard to be more environmentally responsible and it takes a lot of highly
fertile soil to keep L’Ecuyer Gardens going.
The rest of the night will be spent hanging out
with Tom and the girls. Mulberry season
is here and this week we will have to sneak in not just one but two mulberry
picking parties. We LOVE picking
mulberries. Stay tuned!
Posted by Twilya
@ 05:39 PM CDT
here is to busy days, late nights and early mornings! See you at the market in the morning!!!! [Read More
Posted by Twilya
@ 12:58 AM CDT
Great produce at great prices and yes we still have bedding plants and hanging baskets. [Read More
Posted by Twilya
@ 08:41 AM CDT
I know you are probably wondering what I am drinking, but
the two have beautiful relationship on our farm. We are usually offering predictions for the
first day of wheat harvest beginning in early June and don’t start cutting
until the end of the month. If we are
lucky we are finished in time to enjoy the Fourth of July. The black berries begin to flower about the
same time we are making our first predictions and usually have ripened and run their
course by the end of harvest. This holds
true not only for the berries we raise commercially but also the berries we
find in the wild. Every year wheat
harvest may be off by a week or more one way or the other and every year the
blackberries seem to know.
This year is no exception and it is one worth pausing for,
you see it is May 13 and we have been offering wheat harvest predictions for
nearly three weeks and my bushes are loaded with flowers and green berries. Today I noticed some of them are slightly
red. I will be picking blackberries in
two weeks. The fields of wheat have been
beautiful seas of green and last night on my way to my pasture picnic, I
noticed it is starting to turn a light golden color. I predict we will start harvest on or before
June 1 (almost an entire month early). Even
this year the wheat and blackberries have synchronized their internal
Blackberry cobbler is heavenly and my reasoning is because
they are so closely connected and to me this relationship is the story of hubby
and me. Other than a short stint in
college, Tom has lived his entire life on this farm. He is a true country boy in every way. Tom farms conventionally. He is the type of farmer too many try to cast
in an ugly light because he has worked hard and figured out how make farming
his career. He raises cattle and corn,
wheat and soy beans. He is an honest man
and if you were ever stranded in a dark alley late at night he is the guy you
hope will come by. He has a gentle smile
and a voice that always manages to calm my inner worries. He knows who he his only want is for a happy
and healthy family. It is very easy to
I am a city gal and as a young child and again later in my
early adult years I moved a lot. My dad
hit the bricks when I was young and I was in my teens before there was an adult
man in my life who treated me as a daughter.
That gap created an insecure person.
I always assume that there is something about me that is repulsive to
the world. I have always had major trust
issues with all people, but men especially.
I know at times I am a difficult person to want to love, but Tom makes
it look easy. For that I am grateful. I used to live in an urban/ suburban area and
enjoyed a career and a life that did not involve dirt, cows, or the late night
four-legged visitor. I enjoyed the
frequent purchase of new clothes and new shoes and my idea of farming was 5
tomato plants and a honeysuckle bush. Since
moving to Kansas I have tried to be a farmer.
I love playing in the dirt but must confess I don’t always know what I
am doing. Tom is the one who helps me
figure things out and at times does the work I am physically unable to do. He makes it look easy.
At first glance you could assume that Tom and I could not
possibly have any common ground and yet the only thing that has made since in
my life since we first met was making sure I am next to him. There has been a connectedness between us
that is hard to put into words, but somehow belongs together. We are wheat and blackberries. For that I am grateful.
Today I cleaned all bedding plants from my tunnel and I hope
within the next few weeks most will find new homes. If not, they will end up in my compost
pile. Today we put down mulch eight new rows
and tomorrow I will begin planting… bell peppers, chili peppers, eggplant,
artichokes, Asian cucumbers, okra, cabbage, and lettuce. Tom also planted a few rows of cannellini
beans. Wednesday is t-ball practice for
Livie, grocery store and drop box deliveries and my farmer’s market night in
Manhattan. Thursday, I will make
deliveries to Beatrice and will help my girl’s preschool plant their summer
garden. Friday the girls and I will go check for
mulberries and hopefully will SCORE.
There is lots of good stuff that will come from L’Ecuyer Gardens. Check back with us to find out what type of
goodness is waiting for you.
Posted by Twilya
@ 10:19 PM CDT
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